On July 8, 2015, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development issued a Final Rule outlining the requirements for recipients of HUD funding to address housing discrimination and segregation in their communities. The rule implements a portion of the federal Fair Housing Act that requires HUD, and recipients of certain federal funding, to take steps to “affirmatively further fair housing.”
In a press release announcing the release of the rule, HUD stated that the rule was intended
to equip communities that receive HUD funding with data and tools to help them meet long-standing fair housing obligations in their use of HUD funds. HUD will also provide additional guidance and technical assistance to facilitate local decision-making on fair housing priorities and goals for affordable housing and community development.
HUD noted that the rule is intended to clarify existing fair housing obligations for recipients, stating that
For more than forty years, HUD funding recipients have been obligated by law to reduce barriers to fair housing, so everyone can access affordable, quality housing. Established in the Fair Housing Act of 1968, the law directs HUD and its program participants to promote fair housing and equal opportunity. This obligation was intended to ensure that every person in America has the right to fair housing, regardless of their race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability or familial status. The final rule aims to provide all HUD program participants with clear guidelines and data they can use to achieve those goals.
Under the rule, recipients, including both local and state governments as well as Public Housing Authorities, will have to complete an “Assessment of Fair Housing” (AFH) to analyze their local conditions and develop priorities and goals to address conditions in their community. The AFH will replace the Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice (AI) that recipients had previously been required to undertake. HUD will provide “publicly open data and mapping tools” to aid community members and local leaders in completing the AFH and setting their local priorities and goals.
The final rule will take effect 30 days after its publication in the Federal Register, which is expected within the next several days, although in its press release announcing the rule, HUD noted that “it will not be fully implemented immediately” and that “HUD will provide support to program participants that need to complete an Assessment of Fair Housing to ensure they understand the process and to identify best practices across a diverse group of communities.”
HUD has set up a web page addressing the AFFH rule, which includes links to HUD’s press release announcing the rule, a copy of the AFFH Final Rule, and an executive summary of the rule, and additional resources for grantees on AFFH requirements.
On August 5, 2015, HUD issued a Technical Correction to the AFFH Final Rule.